How to Sharpen your Table Saw Blade
The table saw blade is perhaps the most important part of the table: probably its heart and soul. But any serious woodworker knows that taking care of the saw blade is not an easy task. It requires regular maintenance and a great deal of effort and care.
Many woodworkers assume that their table saw blades can’t be sharpened. When the blades get dull, they dispose it and replace it entirely. This is usually very costly compared to how affordable it is to just have the blade sharpened.
If you want to glide through your projects with ease, a well sharpened blade is a must. It will ensure that you have smooth and accurate cuts and there are no rough edges on the cuts. A dull blade will also require you to use more energy to go through the workpieces. To save you from having to get a new blade every time yours goes dull, here is a step by step guide on how to sharpen the blade. Follow closely;
When to Sharpen your Blade
It normally takes a lot of time for some woodworkers to realize their table saw blade requires some sharpening. However, it’s very easy to notice the signs of a dull blade as long as you’re aware of the tell-tale signs to look for on such a blade.
- Chipped carbide on the blade,
- Rounded corners or edges on the teeth, and
- Increased pressure when cutting materials you’ve previously been cutting.
Once you notice any missing or misplaced teeth that are out of the plane, rush it to a professional. Here one can get the old teeth brazed off and get a new set of teeth brazed on. On the other hand, if your saw blade has any of the three remaining signs, then it’s about time to get the blade sharpened.
Cleaning the Blade
At times, when people start to notice more pressure when cutting materials using their saw blades, they usually assume that they are dull. Turns out in some cases, they are not. They are just dirty. Furthermore, the cleaning process usually makes sharpening easier, saves you more time, and less stress.
To clean the blade, it is important to first remove it from the table saw to avoid any inconvenience. Most modern table saws are equipped with release switches. These tend to reduce the hassle when it comes to removing the blade. If you still have the previous models, then you’ll spend a little more time loosening the bolts. If you have a wrench lying around, use it. It will make the process much easier.
It doesn’t cost you a lot to clean a table saw blade; you just need some soap and a toothbrush. Here’s how to go about it:
Gently apply the soap around the blade, making sure there is adequate of it around the edges and in between the teeth. Be careful to avoid getting cut in the process. Now take the brush and scrub off any metal dirt or chipped carbides that might have remained when using it. Rub the blade in its direction and not against to prevent any injuries.
Once you’re done with the cleaning, dry off using a drier. This is to make sure that dirt won’t form around the blade in the future. Once the cleaning and drying done, one can then check for improved performance in the blade.
Install it back to the table saw and if it still requires more torque to cut wood, then you require to proceed to the next step.
Sharpening the Blade
What you need?
If you want your dull saw blade to be up and running again in the shortest time possible, then you need to arm yourself with a few equipments. The following will help you get your blade in check without wasting much time:
- A sharpening file – preferably a diamond blade or file. For best results, place it in the form of a grinding wheel. Ensure that it is not worn out and is effective. If possible, get a new one.
- A sharpie – To mark the starting tooth.
- Well set up jig – Where you’ll place the dull saw blade
- Piece of wood – When you can’t afford a jig or have no time to set up one.
- Gloves – Remember you’re dealing with sharp metals here. So to avoid any accidents in form of cuts, please get yourself a pair.
- Goggles or a face mask – To avoid pieces of metal shavings from jumping into your eye and causing severe injuries and blindness. Face masks ensure that they don’t get into contact with your face and probably saving you from lung problems.
- Lubricant – To prevent your saw blade from rusting.
What to do
It is very difficult to sharpen the saw blade when it is mounted on the table using this method. As mentioned above, use the release switch to remove the blade.
Now carefully adjust the table saw blade on the jig making sure it’s tight and well-fitted. This might take some time to get it into the perfect position. For those who don’t fancy jigs, place it on the piece of scrap wood gently. This prevents the blade from making unnecessary turns or running off when it is being sharpened. Also don’t forget to adjust the diamond blade file fittingly. All this should be done on a safe, smooth and flat surface where you can work smoothly.
Use the sharpie to inscribe a recognizable mark on the blade. Make the mark at the top of the blade’s tooth so that you can easily see it. This helps you to know when you’ve finished making a full circle around the blade. At the same time it saves you from the misery of double sharpening which is a complete waste of time and effort.
Ensure you put on your gloves, face mask, goggles and any other safety equipment. Now steadily lead your blade to the diamond file and slip it in. This should be done slowly. You don’t need to be in a hurry. Working hurriedly increases the probability of one getting injured. Now gently push the blade until it makes slight contact.
With that done, you’re about to start the work of sharpening. Here’s where you need to be very attentive and be as smooth as possible. In this stage, you should start making strong back and forth strokes across the first section of the saw.
Pull the saw blade relentlessly in a back and forth motion about five times while taking note of the progress. Continue rotating the blade the same number of times for each section and you’ll start noticing the difference. In the case of the grinding wheel, put the blade straight across and not at an angle. Take each quarter of the sections by turn and make sure you don’t skip any. Use slight pressure above the table saw blade but don’t push it to avoid any damages.
Once you’re done with all the teeth, sections and quarters, it’s now time for the last and final step which is lubrication. You only need a small amount of oil because the sharpening is still fresh. Pour some oil all over the table saw blade including all the teeth and edges. Use a newspaper for the best results. Slowly wipe the lubricant on the blade while spreading it to all the parts. Some oil will be wiped off, but this shouldn’t worry you.
It is important to note that the chipped metals can make the floor, (either wooden or concrete), very slippery. Therefore, one should clean the shavings off when the process is done.
Attaching the Blade and Checking the Results
You should attach the blade back to the table saw depending on the removal technique you used. Follow the step closely and mount it to the table until you’re sure it is firm. Don’t forget to check if the teeth are in the direction that they normally rotate.
Some table saw blades usually require nuts to install them on the tables. For these types, tighten the nuts slowly using your hands then tighten them further using the wedge. However, don’t use too much force and over-tighten them.
Once you’re done attaching it, it’s now time to assess the success of the entire work. Place a piece of scrap wood close to the blade and cut it squarely. This is to check whether the saw blade has attained its required sharpness.
It will most likely cut the wood smoothly if you have followed the process keenly. But if you’re not satisfied and still notice some dullness in the blade, you can repeat the process.
As you have seen above, sharpening your blade is an easy process that any woodworker can easily accomplish. It’s a completely hassle-free and simple process. You don’t need an expert to do it for you neither do you need to find a replacement of your saw blade. This might just be more costly and expensive in the long run.
Keep following this procedure and with time and future re-sharpening, you’ll master the skill that will save you loads of cash and precious time in your woodwork.
If you have any other questions or worries please contact us, or if you have any comments or improvements please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.